Lots of people have a home office, but few homes are designed to be literally part office. Dwell Developments' new Live/Work homes in Seattle, however, are exactly that home-office hybrid. They're aimed at improving the lifestyles and environmental footprints of their residents.

Dwell says that the Live/Work units "offer an alternative to traditional mixed-use spaces and the opportunity to live more sustainably." Not only can residents choose to work from home, eliminating time spent on the daily commute and its environmental impact, but, like other Dwell homes, they are constructed to Built Green specifications.

Built Green is an environmental construction standard that takes into account the use of materials, energy efficiency, water use and indoor air quality. Its ratings range from 3-Star through 4-Star and 5-Star up to Emerald Star. Dwell says the Live/Work houses are built to 5-Star level.

Among the features that contribute to this are weather-resistant barrier systems, triple-glazed windows, heat recovery ventilation systems and tankless water heaters. Reclaimed, repurposed and sustainable building materials are used where possible, including reclaimed wooden flooring along with countertops and tiling made from recycled content, and locally-sourced cabinetry.

In addition to these features, the roofing is "solar ready." This means that solar panels can be easily fitted, which, Dwell says, would make the houses net zero energy consumers. Elsewhere, there are conduits for charging electric vehicles.

There are two Live/Work units in total, each covering an area of 2,700 sq ft (251 sq m). The ground floor is designed for use as the personal home office, or, alternatively, for retail. The location, in the Admiral District of Seattle, is pedestrian-friendly and close to parks, shopping and dining destinations, meaning it is accessible for visitors. A final option would be to rent the ground floor space out to a commercial tenant as a source of income.

There are three additional living floors in each house. Each has three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms and off-street parking. There are also open-plan kitchen and living areas, as well as outside decking areas where residents can enjoy good weather.

The Live/Work homes broke ground in June 2014 and were completed last month.

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